Tag Archives: goals

Education Plays A Key Role

Children, Drawing, EducationI think I mentioned a while ago this annoying radio show one of my colleague likes to listen to at work. I heard a discussion on there the other day that left me baffled. The radio presenter and the person calling in were saying that the history of how Britain made it’s wealth is not taught in schools.

That seemed strange to me because it was taught to us as children at primary school and at high school. (My parents taught us too of course.) Our teachers made sure we understood that wealth is not a divine reward or blessing. Being wealthy is not at all good karma or whatever you call it. Wealth has often been the result of stripping the planet of its resources and stripping other people of dignity and basic human rights.

I wrote a post about my most recent visit to the Merseyside Maritime Museum and the whole floor devoted to the history of the slave trade and the mistreatment of others that brought wealth:

Slavery On A Sinister And Sadistic Scale

Liverpool Maritime Museum

Until people everywhere stop thinking of their own glory, their own desire for wealth, their own desire for fame and prominence, power and influence – there is going to be a lot of ugly cruel behaviour.

Our teachers taught us that change comes from within. Loving other people, heartfelt respect, honouring them. Viewing and treating others as greater than ourselves. Seeking to benefit others brings us inner joy. Wealth and riches are not the goal. A happy healthy human family and a clean earth upon which all creatures thrive is the grand prize that we all need to work towards.

Birkenau, Auschwitz, Concentration, CampI recall meeting a volunteer in her nineties who was in a concentration camp during the Second World War. She said something special to me. She told me that she met a woman who was of a different religion and a different language group to her, who was also a prisoner in the camp. The other prisoner gave her some of her own bread because she saw how frail and ill she had fallen. She told me that what kept her alive was not just the bread, but the love, the human kindness when she felt herself wanting to give up on life.

She was one phenomenal lady. She said that after the war, many people immersed themselves in making money, building their own businesses, finding a lovely home etc. She became a volunteer and worked for decades, living on a tiny budget and sleeping in very basic accommodation. She learnt the secret of real joy in life. It had nothing to do with possessions. It had to do with loving and giving.

Money, Dollars, Success, BusinessSo long as people seek their own glory and their own wealth – they will miss out on real joy – the real life! But what goals do educators put before children? I remember later in my schooling, teachers pressured me to look ahead at the best colleges and universities so I could make money, have an exciting career and they suggested that would be “success”.

I rejected that. I rejected the idea of using my exam grades to win advantages for myself. I became a volunteer. I feel far more successful because I have avoided the pursuit of things and money. I have seen people of all cultures working together on projects that change communities. I have seen real love in action.

Recently, I have heard a lot of people saying that all people should have equal access to opportunities, not just a select few within a particular ethnic group or culture. I understand that. It’s the “opportunities” I have a skeptical view of. The education system in this world, the money making careers, the fame and glory this world offers – they are all incredibly fickle. (I have family who are in well paid careers – doctors, finance directors, a member of parliament. My family is a mix of cultures and ethnic backgrounds…which I love. Some of my close relatives who are in lucrative careers have been the targets of racial slurs from childhood to adulthood. But that is a different subject.)

Woman, Black, Businesswoman, YoungA friend of mine said she had to fight for everything she has. She said it in the context that she has suffered racism and discrimination because of the shade of her skin. From some views she has done very well for herself. She went to a top university and she did end up in a high paying career. She is proud of those achievements. She lives in a beautiful house and drives a beautiful car. She loves her designer clothes and her luxury holidays.

She has a lot to say on the subject of equal opportunities, and I understand why. But when we discussed this issue, she kept on talking about equal opportunities for education at top schools and universities, and for lucrative careers or roles within the media.

I made two comments to her that I genuinely wondered about. The first was in the context that it is predicted that there will be a huge economic crisis ahead in the wake of the …you know and the effect that social restrictions have had on the economy. I made the comment that I was concerned there would be less opportunities on the table for any jobs, nevermind top jobs.

ruiegdfhlahThe other comment O made was that there should be dignity in every role. I feel as much pride in the work I have done as a cleaner, as when I worked in finance, in a legal firm or in healthcare.

I take even more pride and reward in the unpaid work I do working as a volunteer for charities. I have no interest in lucrative careers or the acclaim of a corrupt system. I do not want it’s offer of a high salary. Nope…I am much happier working with a team of volunteers of all ages from different backgrounds as we work together to make an area beautiful.

I do not agree at all with the glorification of humans. At all. These statues being pulled down, they should never have gone up to begin with. I don’t agree with glorifying people. But my friend thinks there should be statues, but they should reflect all cultures. She said she would like to see a statue of herself one day.

I love my friend very much and I understand why gaining those things was important to her. I am proud of her determined spirit. But in some ways it saddens me. How does gaining those things help the planet, help the human race, help one to find real joy and satisfaction in life?

dahfaehgfPersonally, I think we should all be given an assignment. We should all be assigned to an area of land and work with our neighbours to make that area a paradise.

I think at some point we may all find ourselves not worrying about the things we used to worry about. I only see a future where the human family as one huge team are working together to make this whole globe beautiful and clean. When will educators start to prioritise on teaching us that getting high grades in your exams is not as important as working together and being able to look after our home, our health and each other?

Anyway…we were just talking, my friend and I…and although we agree on many things…we don’t seem to see eye to eye about the solution. We both said education is key to affecting out future. But we obviously don’t agree on the nature of that education. We didn’t argue, we are too fond of each other to have arguments when we do not share an opinion. But we did acknowledge that we have different goals for this world.

At The Age of 5, I Thought I Would Be Farmer Prime’s Wife When I Grew Up

Now I am not just saying it to please you…I did enjoy the art class on Sunday.  The thing is I have normally spent all my free-time from childhood onward on sports and hiking where I can push myself or just run around having fun…noisy events – karaoke, parties, dancing, live music, loud friends.  I do also like museums and historical houses and sites.  Even though I am not all that noisy in myself I am attracted to noisy, loud, energetic people.   But it was nice to sit and feel calm and concentrate and try to produce something respectable with a pencil.  I was more relaxed than I expected, and I was pleased I was starting to make a bit of progress.  Not that I have any aspirations for even attempting to accomplish something worthy of praise.  But the point is…I enjoyed it.  And I was very impressed by what you and some of the others in the class were able to produce.  I told my workmates on Monday I had been to an art class, but I was too much of a wimp to tell them what I was drawing.  In fact, when they asked me what we drew I said “oh, all sorts of things.”

I do like trying to please you Goldfinch.  I am mushy…I know…and if it annoys you I will try to reign it in.  It’s not just because I am female…I am sure you and I both know many women who are not sentimental at all.  I am sentimental I guess.  I think I am realistic too.  I am a big believer that each person is going to think and feel differently…and in some respects it is a miracle that people meet and decide they will try to build something together…except for hormones, they take the miracle out of it.  However, when it comes to love, you can’t force anything…there is no door handle on the outside of the human heart.  On a realistic (maybe pessimistic) note…I don’t believe that I “float your boat” anywhere near as much as you float mine.  I don’t think you like me saying that.

I cannot concern myself with the way every single other person thinks and feels – and trying to generalize is futile (even if most men are from Mars). But generalities aside, I do try to understand those close to me….as in where are they coming from mentally and emotionally?  Sometimes, it’s enough to try to keep an eye on my own mind and heart, and try to figure out why I am doing things.  It is ingrained in me to want to love (and be loved I guess).  So much of what I might say and do is just inclination formed by years of past experience.  I can’t see myself changing drastically unless I was changed by a major event.  To me…well, as I have mentioned, many men are from Mars…and frankly I don’t think I would have much motivation if it was hormones alone that were impelling me.  I love thinking of you in a sentimental frame of mind, maybe romantic.  My head is in a very happy place when I am trying to think of little things to please you.  It feels great to be sweet and kindly and homely and lovely and giving.  It makes me feel like my mum…and I mean that in a very good way.  But if you find you are not enjoying it, I will listen and adjust.

It is not difficult to feel fondness and affection for you…it would be difficult to try to repress it.  You do make me feel happy…and you bring me great pleasure.  Mentally I know…if you were not going to leave England, I guess I know where my thoughts would collide with yours and there would be challenges to any lasting connection.  We would probably drift apart naturally.  We would not have the desire to spend time with someone who deep down we realized was from a different planet.  Maybe it is because you are not going to be here for long that I am switching my mind off and following my feelings of happiness and pleasure and excitement.

bananaepisodeI don’t know what I am doing long term anymore.  Life has not worked out the way I expected it to.  I was thinking back to a little 5 or 6-year-old me.  This is me back then.  Please excuse the absence of front teeth.  I had eaten a banana one of my dad’s customers gave to me and by the time I finished it I had accidentally swallowed my two front teeth which had been very wobbly.  As you can see I already had an impeccable sense of style, sunglasses, leather jacket…and although I would never become a rock star, I was well on the way to becoming a karaoke queen.

One of my school mates was a boy named Ian Prime.  He was like a miniature jolly farmer.  I was too young to have a crush on Ian Prime, but I think I knew that he and I were a match.  We were on the same level.  I could see Ian Prime as the farmer, and me as the farmer’s wife.  I think that is how I thought life would turn out when I was a little girl.  I am not sure really what else it is all about.  There was never any issue about meeting parents.  I knew Ian Prime’s mum and he knew my mum.  A man and a woman start a team, they build together a home, they plant veggies and harvest them, she cooks meals and makes curtains, he carves out furniture and fixes fences, there are cows to milk and all sorts of animals to feed, then there might be children…although at the age of 5 or 6 I could not see myself having children and I still can’t imagine it now.  But that might be because I feel as if I am still a child myself and can’t take on the responsibility of a child.  But the rest I can see.  I still don’t understand how the system we live in does not seem to allow for that.  I don’t think I have goals or ambitions because the world is so shaky and unreliable and even basic human desires seem unattainable.

Each year at school our teachers would record each member of our class saying “When I grow up I want to be a…”  Our ideas changed from year to year.  My teacher’s favourite goal in my case, was when I was seven.  I claimed “When I grow up I want to be a sculpture.”  I had not realized I meant a sculptor.  But prior to that, I had stated with conviction, “When I grow up I want to be a farmer’s wife”.  My view of how my lifeconstruction would turn out all changed when I was 15 and stepped onto a construction site and enrolled as a volunteer for local charities for the first time.  I suddenly realized I had no desire to be a Mrs Prime…I wanted freedom to come and go as I pleased.  I didn’t want to be tied to anyone or anything, not even an employer.  I had to find a balance of course.  And the balance for me was first part-time employment and then self-employment so that I could be free to travel on voluntary projects all over the country and then all over the world.  As a result, I actually became a slave to the work I was doing on a voluntary basis.  A voluntary slavery that I truly loved.

It frightens me that in the summer it will be three years since I have been separated from my life, my world.  Will I be back by then?  My hope is fading.  Which makes me wonder…if I will never make it back to the life that I love…should I start thinking in terms of the way I previously thought the world worked.  Find an Ian Prime?…or wait for an Ian Prime?  I might be waiting until my dying day.

Anyway…I don’t think you see yourself as an Ian Prime type.  I don’t want to presume anything.  But you have told me things along the lines of that you just want to enjoy life and pleasures.  You seem willing to try almost any new experience.  You seem kind of fearless as if you have nothing to lose.

It does kind of scare me that if I don’t make it back to my life and my world (which I am terrified might never happen) then I have nothing to live for.  I just have to take one day at a time and appreciate everything and everyone in my life here and be open minded and adventurous about the future.  Sometimes all I want is an Ian Prime…I wouldn’t need to be swept off my feet by him.  But I do need to belong to him.  But if he could just give me a list of jobs to be getting on with, and if he could touch base with me regularly to tell me if I was doing well or if I needed to learn to do things in a better way.  I like a little pleasure.  But I crave purpose.  I need occupation, I need work, I need to have things to do for people I love, or even those I don’t love, I need activity and purpose and a lot of it.  I don’t mind how repetitive or mundane that work is.  And of course, I thrive when I feel secure and appreciated and loved.  How could I not?  Yes, it makes me try even harder.

I am waffling Darling….I don’t think you want to be bored with all this.  I am not sure even what I am trying to say…except…and please don’t take offence, I don’t think you are an Ian Prime.  But I am very grateful that you are letting me be in your life right now.  Goodness I am grateful to you.  I am loving every moment with you.  Yes, just thank you Goldfinch.  I don’t think you would have picked me off the shelf in the supermarket, but I am so grateful we both happened to be alone one October evening and had the courage to start a friendly conversation.  It has led to many months of joy.  I don’t think you want to be my Ian Prime, perhaps you don’t want to be any other woman’s Ian Prime.

Maybe you prefer the James Bond-ness of being a single footloose 40-something, fine figure of a man.  But anyway…you are doing what you want to…but you are bringing me great pleasure and happiness.

I would love to be taking you to all the amazing places my family and friends have explored in North Wales, the Lake District and Scotland.

Lots of thoughts in my head I am getting out on the page here…and I am frightened you might not like these thoughts.  I have no desire to ever hurt, offend, or annoy you.

Anyway…for now…I will just keep taking one day at a time with you…keep enjoying every moment with you…and try not to worry that I am boring to you because my head does not particularly see beyond a world where I am devoted to volunteering or else to an Ian Prime, who will be the centre of my universe.